One day a Thessalian visited the Macedonian court, offering to sell the King (Philip) an exceptionally beautiful horse named Bucephalus. When the royal grooms proved unable to tame the spirited animal, young Alexander asked his father whether he might try.

Philip reluctantly agreed, on the condition that the boy pay a sizeable penalty (equal to the horse's value) if he failed. Alexander agreed and, having noticed that Bucephalus was frightened by his own shadow, simply approached his head and turned him toward the sun. The horse, thus becalmed, allowed Alexander to mount and ride him.

The court, witnessing the spectable, broke into wild applause and Philip, overjoyed, kissed his brilliant son. "Seek another kingdom that may be worthy of your abilities," he declared, "for Macedonia is too small for you."

[Another famous anecdote describes Alexander skillfully receiving Persian envoys in Philip's court while Philip was out inspecting his troops. Alexander is said to have impressed the envoys more than Philip would have, at the age of five or six.]

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